BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team didn’t need any Christmas magic on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, the Black Bears used some old-fashioned chemistry to halt their three-game losing streak.
UMaine (6-5) shot 50 percent from the field and registered 25 assists on 27 field goals while posting a 72-58 victory over Towson University at the Cross Insurance Center.
“I think for the first time in a long time we really just played our game, really executed on offense well,” said sophomore Liz Wood.
“I’ve got to give credit to our coaching staff,” she added. “They really scouted this team well and gave us a good game plan to put into action and gave us success.”
Coach Richard Barron’s ballclub was led offensively by 15 points from Lauren Bodine, but the Black Bears placed nine players in the scoring column. Wood finished with 10 points to go with 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals and a blocked shot.
“I had fun out there,” said Bodine, a sophomore guard who joined Wood and Mikaela Gustafsson with five assists apiece.
Sigi Koizar (3 assists) netted nine points, Courtney Anderson and Anna Heise scored eight each and Gustafsson also posted six points and four rebounds.
“When our ball movement leads to defensive breakdowns where we have direct penetration or we have really good post-up seals, that’s when the ball on the next pass usually ends up breaking the defense down with a really good shot,” Barron said.
Tanisha McTiller led Towson (4-7) with a game-high 16 points while LaTorri Hines-Allen finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and Dominique Johnson contributed 10 points, four assists and two steals.
The Bears shot 59 percent (16-for-27) from the field in the first half and used a 9-0 run to build a 41-29 halftime lead.
UMaine, which had to work around seven turnovers that led to 13 points by the Tigers, saw an eight-point advantage trimmed to three. Alliya Berger’s fast-break layup capped a 7-0 Towson surge that made it 32-29 with 4:01 remaining.
The Bears refused to relinquish the lead. Charles slashed in for a basket, then Koizar cashed in on a turnover with two free throws to make it 36-29. Barron called a timeout with 1:52 left.
“We called a timeout and we talked about how important the next two minutes were,” said Barron, whose team has experienced late-half lulls this season.
Wood came out and quickly made a steal that led to her driving left-handed layup, then Bodine buried a 3-pointer in transition on the next position to give UMaine a 41-29 halftime lead.
“We finished on a run and we came in with momentum instead of [like against] Hartford, Brown, games that we could have put teams away,” Barron said.
Bodine, who made three of her four 3-pointers in the first half, was the beneficiary of excellent ball movement.
“I knew that if we overloaded one side, we would have open shots, so I knew that I had it open, I had to knock it down,” she said.
UMaine was able to maintain the advantage. The hosts led by as many as 18 points (54-36) after an impressive series of three possessions.
Gustafsson hit a 10-footer from the baseline, then scored a layup off a nifty bounce pass by Charles. On the next possession, Charles made a layup off a give-and-go with Bodine.
“Chantel made some great defensive plays and super passes, som big rebounds,” Barron said.
Towson made a determined push during the last 10 minutes, but could not get closer than nine points. UMaine became stagnant while trying to run time off the clock, but made enought plays to stay on top.
UMaine takes a holiday break before returning to action with a Dec. 29 game at Sacred Heart.